Earth Defense Force 2017 English Hands-On

The North American release of this giant-bug blastathon may be even campier than its Japanese counterpart. We took the localized version for a spin.

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Earth Defense Force 2017 is about one thing and one thing only: killing giant bugs. And occasionally robots. But mostly bugs. The game drops you in the role of a supersoldier in 2017, when a dastardly alien menace called the Ravagers has overrun the planet with ants, spiders, and other creepy crawlers that have been blown up to shockingly enormous size. The game is extremely easy to pick up and play, with standard third-person action controls and unlimited ammunition. As big as the enemies are, they go down pretty quickly, so you might think the game is a bit easy at first--but those lousy arthropods do have the advantage of numbers.

If EDF maintains its singular focus on straightforward shooting action, at least it gives you a lot of content to blast through. The game will contain 53 missions with around 150 weapons to unlock as you go, and we managed to obtain around 10 of these just during the first three or four missions. The weapons fall into a number of standard categories--rifle, shotgun, sniper rifle, grenade, rocket launcher, and so on--and while some weapons may be better suited to some situations than others, we imagine that you can pretty much always grab your favorites and get the job done.

The early levels of the game are set in an urban environment and throw mostly ants at you, with the occasional spider tossed in for good measure. After obtaining the grenade launcher, we were quite pleased (giddy, in fact) to learn that you can destroy every building, bridge, and other urban effect in sight, so eventually we probably became a bigger menace to the city than the ants as we laid waste to our surroundings with gleeful abandon. We could see EDF's shoot-everything-that-moves mentality acting as one of those nice after-work stress relievers.

Later on, though, you'll start to encounter different sorts of environments and opponents. Reps from D3, EDF's publisher, showed us a level set on a beach at sunset where gigantic bipedal robots wielding Gatling guns were storming the shoreline. With so many missions, we hope to see a similar variety as the game wears on. Some of those missions will have the occasional varied objective, too, such as defense and escort goals, but we're expecting the bottom line will always come down to killing everything before it kills you.

We haven't seen any 50-foot women yet, but every other giant menace you can think of will be here for your blasting pleasure.

Luckily, you'll also have several vehicles at your disposal in select missions. There's an air bike that doesn't sport a heavy armament but will let you travel from one place to another quickly. The tank and its heavy firepower will come in handy for obvious reasons. There's a helicopter that will let you bombard the alien hordes from the air. But the most exciting vehicle is a giant suit of powered armor that will lessen the big bugs' considerable size advantage, not to mention confer massive amounts of firepower on you. And even when you don't have any of these vehicles at your fingertips, you'll be able to run around the level and recruit other EDF soldiers to your cause for a little added offensive power.

What with all the oversized insects and robots stomping around, Earth Defense Force has some obvious ties to '50s sci-fi invasion movies and the like, and luckily D3 recognized this fact in bringing the game to North America. The in-mission voice acting has a decidedly campy tone to it that fits in well with the over-the-top absurdity of the action. The game is slated to hit stores in late March, and D3 has confirmed it will be available for around $40, which seems like a pretty fair price for the unparalleled density of giant bugs.

Discussion

16 comments
darthdominion
darthdominion

With over 50+ missions and killing bugs. A serious contender for my Xbox 360, bro.

racerx737
racerx737

looks like it could be pretty fun, maybe something to pick up in the dry months ahead before a bunch of games I want start coming out towards the end of the summer.

NND1
NND1

RAAWWWKKSSSSSSS

NND1
NND1

RAAWWWKKSSSSSSS

Sam_Lowery
Sam_Lowery

mike360xoxo - "$40? they must not feel to good about how they're game plays." Well the games started as $20 budget titles. People said the same thing about NFL2K5, thinking it must not be that good if they're only charging $20. But actually that game got better reviews than madden. It took such a big bite out of Madden's sales that EA had to cheat and buy a monopoly on the NFL name before too many people realized Madden wasn't the best football game anymore.

DesmondPills
DesmondPills

yeah this game is a definite. destroying anything within sight? hmmm sounds like replayability for hours to me. it will be awesome if this game is priced good and is as fun sounding as it is described. 50+ missiosn and 150 weapons alone will atleast make things interesting. i had no idea this game was even coming out.

Enginwolf04
Enginwolf04

I will justify spending $40 on this, but $60 on Bullet Witch is inexcusable (or is it $50? Either way, a rip-off...) Looks like it may be entertaining enough, at least to get some gamerpoints off of it.

Sagacious_Tien
Sagacious_Tien

It looks like mindless fun. Not a system seller by any stretch of the mind, but a fun shooter that will give great stress relief before soaking in some of the better and deeper titles on the XBox 360.

mike360xoxo
mike360xoxo

$40? they must not feel to good about how they're game plays.

EvilDarkGon
EvilDarkGon

Epic. Can't wait to play it. I love the type of movies that this game is paying homage to - this will be an instant buy, and even if it's not as good as I'm hoping, maybe we'll get a sequel sometime in the next couple years. Or threequel, I guess.

gmax
gmax moderator

Kind of a funny looking game... With targets that big, I guess you just can't really miss...

TintedChimes
TintedChimes

this is nice, what th heck does around 40 mean

Sam_Lowery
Sam_Lowery

"it will be available for around $40" In this gaming generation it looks like $40 is the new $20. I don't know how long this game will stay fun, but the vids look pretty nice the way the enemies come spilling out of the ufo's

Zero254
Zero254

Now all we need is the Oane Chanbara And I'll have my fav two simple series spawned games.(there are more but too many good ones to name)

rokkuman09
rokkuman09

Looks different. Albeit very interesting. The graphics aren't so impressive for 360. But it looks like a lot of fun.